After years of making us feel utterly sick with their criminal ways, bicycle thieves could be about to get a taste of their own… medicine, with the all-new vomit-inducing bike lock.
The SkunkLock is the brainchild of San Francisco-based co-creators Daniel Idzkowski and Yves Perrenoud, in a bid to combat the city’s monumental bike theft problem – something Idzkowski had experienced first-hand.
The lock - which looks like any other U-shaped bike lock, save its black and white warning colours – is not only strong, but also filled with a pressurized chamber containing a specially developed noxious chemical, “formula D_1".
While serious bike thieves can cut through even the toughest of locks within a minute using various tools, when the SkunkLock is cut into by 30%, it sprays the chemicals, causing nausea and vomiting – and will force anyone who doesn't have asbestos nostrils and lungs to instinctively run away.
“It’s pretty much immediately vomit inducing, causes difficulty breathing,” Idzkowski told The Guardian. “A lot of similar symptoms to pepper spray.”
The chemicals are reportedly compliant with regulations in most states and EU countries – and has been tested for its stomach-churning effectiveness at a range of distances.
“At two feet it was pretty bad. It was absolutely vomit inducing in 99% of people," said Idzkowski. "At five feet it’s very noticeable and the initial reaction is to move away from it. At 10ft it’s definitely detectable and very unpleasant.”
Of course, a thief could always return to the bike once they’ve discarded their ruined clothes and tried to scrub the persistent chemicals off their skin, but chances are they’ve already brought enough attention to themselves by vomiting all over the street and won’t want the hassle of trying again.
What’s next? A chain that strangles would-be thieves? A wheel clamp that bites their legs off? A bike lock that induces actual vomiting might seem extreme, but with the stolen bike market reportedly worth upwards of $350million, perhaps extreme measures have to be taken.
The project is currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo, where a pledge of $99 will guarantee you a SkunkLock when it becomes available, hopefully in June 2017.